For the last three years, the indoor swimming pool at Eros School in Bridgetown has been out of service.The significance of this is that up to half of the 360 learners of Eros do not have access to hydrotherapy, which is an extra help for the learners to develop strength.“The reason why we started having problems with the pool is because they stole our heat pump. That started the snowball. We had to claim from the insurance and had to put in a new heat pump, but then the other pump also started giving problems,” says Roshaan Salie, physiotherapist of the school.Saait Francis, chairperson of the school’s governing body, says they inherited a school that needed more work done to it than they initially anticipated, but they are working side by side with principal Samuel Julius. “Our main focus is to help the school to go from where it is now and to see where we can take the school to that level to where we think it should go. I am of the opinion that I like to speak to my principal. As we are the executive also, we can make the decisions.”Julius says the pool is only one aspect of the bigger picture as he envisions learners becoming more practically useful, for which they need more physical training to hone their skills. “What struck me in my initial conversation with parents of learners who were at Eros prior to my time is that in one particular case one of the parents said that their child was at Eros and was so happy, but then after Eros their child went home and they just go home and they die. It doesn’t make sense, because how can you be educated and then you go home and then society doesn’t cater for you? That made me really think.“It made me realise that our learners need work besides the fact that the department talks about having matric. You have thousands of people with matric, even degrees, who do not have work. There are so many who cannot work with their hands. I decided, together with the governing body chairperson, that this is the way that Eros is going to go, looking at a practical stream. The [education department] came to the fore and we are now running a special curriculum,” explains Julius.Meanwhile, Salie says every learner who requires physiotherapy is still helped, despite the unavailability of the pool.“Hydrotherapy is only one aspect of physiotherapy, so we still have lots of other methods that we use in the physiotherapy treatment, but of course hydrotherapy is an adjunct to that. If we don’t have the hydrotherapy pool it is a disadvantage, but the children still get physiotherapy and are still helped,” she adds.Hydrotherapy significantly lowers the effect of gravity on the body. The buoyancy of the water allows for the body to relax. “It helps their muscles to elongate better so we can get a lot more out of them than we would if we just did regular therapy,” says Salie.Julius says the pool forms an integral part of the special curriculum they follow. “We are calling on all stakeholders, particularly the private sector, because we only have so much from the government,” he says.Julius says their need is not only financial. “We have matric learners who do not have the capabilities to read or write. There needs to be two people there, one person to read the question paper and another to write down what the learner responds with,” adds Julius.He says the school has arranged a series of fundraising events.Eros will be having a food fair on Friday. On Friday 11 August they are having a matric ball and are still open to anyone interested in donating or sponsoring a learner to go to the matric ball. The school will host its golf day on Thursday 21 August.“We need to clear the air to say that this is a user-friendly institution and everyone is welcome to talk about it, because this is a special needs school. Where it was formerly just for cerebral palsy, it now has more for other disabilities and the community should know about it. “To get the facility up and running we are looking at business people, but also specialists, to come on board to help us achieve the goal,” says Julius. V For more information on events at Eros School call 021 637 9080.